The urgent need to address the climate emergency requires governments and business to accelerate the transition to a new economic model that is consistent with the 2018 recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of a 1.5° degree scenario.
Climate change is shaping a new reality, creating risks and opportunities for business in a diverse number of ways. Investors, regulators and other stakeholders are now challenging companies to take responsibility by adopting an integrated, strategic approach to addressing the climate emergency.
Many if not most boardrooms are grappling with how to frame the risks and opportunities and embed a viable transition strategy into their business models. Boards of directors play a critical role in ensuring the long-term stewardship of the companies they oversee.
The World Economic Forum has developed a set of Climate Governance Principles for boards of directors, with a view to enabling non-executive directors (NEDs)to gain climate awareness and skills, embed climate considerations into board decision-making, and understand and act upon the risks and opportunities that the climate emergency poses to the long-term resilience and business success of their companies, while taking into account all stakeholders.
A critical element in ensuring that businesses are appropriately positioned to confront the challenges posed by the climate emergency is the role that boards of directors play in the long-term stewardship of the companies they oversee. To fulfil their fiduciary duties in the long-term service of their organizations, boards need to be fully aware of the implications of climate change, have the skills, tools, processes and information to act, and commit to steward their companies through the challenges climate change entails to embed it within their companies’ strategic planning.
The Climate Governance Initiative is establishing a global network of national and regional Chapters to promote the implementation of the Climate Governance Principles, by mobilizing NEDs who either are locally based or serve on the boards of locally based companies and providing a range of engagement opportunities aimed at enabling them to drive action in this area. The initiative has operational Chapters (often called Chapter Zero) in Brazil, Brussels, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Nordics, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, the UK and USA.
For more information contact Natasha Fortuin (firstname.lastname@example.org), World Economic Forum.